Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe: A Celebration of Good Food

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe hosted a food tasting for bloggers with Schmuzter co-hosting. My favorite coffee shop at BGC, not only do they serve quality, artisan roasted coffee, but they also have mouth-watering dishes now as well.

Kuppa is a pretty famous coffee shop in Bacolod, on the must-try lists of tourists who visit the area. It looks like the owners got tired of people asking when they'd put a branch up in Metro Manila, and have now brought their quality roasts to Bonifacio Global City. Starbucks? What Starbucks?

We were first treated to a roasting demo, by the Roastmeister himself, Kerwin Lo, who showed everyone the basics of artisan roasting – where the beans are roasted by hand, using sight, smell, sound, and touch. They use a Probat to roast their coffee , which is like the Ferrari of roasters – always a good sign at any coffee shop.

I was amazed to find out that freshly roasted coffee beans actually smells like newly baked banana bread! Yummy!

We were all quite surprised at how much hard work goes into a cup of Kuppa coffee, and how hands on and dedicated the owners were about maintaining the quality of a good cuppa't Kuppa. After that, it was up to the Cupping Room to sample Kuppa’s newest dishes as well as their old favorites.  It was salu-salo style, as Kuppa is more of a family cafe, with the Cupping Room especially made for family gatherings, the planks of the long table made from scraps of the old building where Kuppa Bacolod now stands.

We were in for a long tasting, which felt more like a big, family meal, and ended up staying for hours on end, enjoying the intimate conversations over really good food.

Not your ordinary Ham & Jam Sandwich, Kuppa’s version is made with smoked ham and brie, with a layer of raspberry jam in Ciabatta bread for a bit of bite.

Insalata Kuppa was a refreshing salad, perfect for summer – an organic salad  made of greens, arugula, blue cheese, grapes, walnuts, and reduced balsamic vinegar.

You cannot go wrong with the classics! Pizza Margherita is pretty simple, made of Mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, but was simply delicious because of Kuppa’s use of quality ingredients - like Italian flour - and classic techniques, like stretching the dough out by hand, which gives the pizza a nice chewy base and crust.

Pizza Cristina was a hands down favorite at the table. Kuppa’s signature pizza, it is made of Mozzarella, bleu cheese, gorgonzola, and figs. A wonderful medley of sweet, sour, savory and tart all in one pizza! I swear, I can finish one whole pizza by myself!

We were given two versions of the Frutti Di Mare Pasta – once with olive oil, and another with a cream base. I liked the cream base version a bit more while the Schmuze Operator preferred the olive oil. It also comes with a tomato base.

The Salmon with Cream Sauce was excellent, just slightly underdone so the flavor of the salmon comes out – pan-seared salmon fillet with spinach in a creamy sauce made out of a reduction of the salmon head and bones. Classical cooking with Chef Rommel Hinlo, the classical cook, is... err, classically delicious!

Kuppa’s Salpicao can make for great tapas or a great meal all on it’s own. Beef tenderloin with mushrooms sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and garlic, I just love how the beef was done medium rare, still pinkish on the inside, tender, with lots of the garlicky flavor.

Kuppa’s Crispy Pata is your traditional fall-off-the-bone crispy pata served with three kinds of sauces – the traditional toyo and sili, a homemade liver sauce, and apple chutney. I liked mixing the apple chutney with a teensy bit of liver sauce.

Karen Lo-Tsai, part-owner and coffee connoisseur, is the only certified Q grader in the Philippines, which loosely translates to a coffee expert - a sommelier in the coffee industry. She had to take over 22 exams in Taiwan to get certified, being able to tell what country each roast came from, and how long ago it was roasted. Now that’s amazing!

The pièce de résistance had to be the Lamb Caldereta, Kuppa’s take on the classical Spanish caldereta with a Pinoy twist. I can't even begin to describe this. You just have to go over there for yourself and try it.

Kuppa Roastery & Cafe
CommerCEnter Building,
31st St. corner 4th Ave.,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Monday - Sunday: 7am - 11pm